The Chicago Red Stars played Sky Blue FC to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. They were without three starters from the USWNT: Julie Johnston, Alyssa Naeher, and Christen Press, which I discussed in my match preview. It was imperative for the Red Stars to create scoring opportunities and lock down the defense without these starters reporting to national team duty.
Sophia Huerta scored a goal in the 34th minute after a beautiful ball was slotted to her through the middle of the field from Danielle Colaprico. These two and the rest of the Red Stars created plenty of other starting opportunities but were unable to find the back of the net with the chances they created. With a goal from Sky Blue FC in the 69th minute of the game, the Red Stars were not able to earn their fifth win of seven games this season; however, they still remain unbeaten in six games.
In post match interviews, the Red Stars’ head coach Rory Dames wasn’t shy in expressing how he felt about the team’s performance, and now his comments are a hot topic of debate amongst NWSL fans.
I can’t admit to knowing much about Dames’ relationship with his players or his typical postgame feedback since he became head coach of the team in 2011, but I have read enough comments about his most recent postgame interview to know that there has been a mix of emotions towards it.
In this particular interview, Dames’ does not pacify his feelings. He specifically states that the Red Stars would have played better with their missing USWNT players and compares their play to the players that filled their positions for Sunday’s game against Sky Blue. His expectations for his team are clear. The question up for debate is whether Dames’ should have made these statements public or if he should have kept them private, between him and his team.
As a former player, I never played well when negative criticism was abundant, especially if it was addressed in front of my teammates. However, I played with several women, who fed off of the energy of comments similar to those Dames made, and they were often more successful on the field after hearing them. (I always envied these players.)
For players like me, who have a more challenging time dealing with public critique of their playing, hopefully, there are leaders on the team to bring Dames’ criticism to light and instead use it as constructive observation for improvement.
Another concern I have with the blunt postgame commentary would be the possible effect it would have on the relationship between players. Assuming that Johnston, Naeher, and Press already receive more attention from the media due to their positions on the USWNT, I would hope that Dames’ feedback would not jeopardize the chemistry between players on his team.
In the end, Dames knows his team. He knows what criticism they’re able to handle, and what they’re not able to handle. He even states it, ” I’m not saying anything they don’t know. They don’t need me to tell them that.” This makes it clear that Dames knows his team and knows what they’re capable of hearing like all head coaches should.
What are your thoughts on head coaches making public statements such as Dames’ to the media?
- Full postgame press conference from Red Stars vs. SkyBlue FC
- Chicago Red Stars: Huerta Scores as Chicago Ties Sky Blue FC 1-1
- National Women’s Soccer League Supporters Facebook group: Dialogue on Rory Dames’ postgame press conference remarks